Agencies that don’t win much new business generally don’t do much to win new business.

effective new business tips

Pay attention to the obvious.

Just call me master of the obvious. There are many ways to generate growth for an ad agency. But every time I visit an agency I’m stunned to learn just how little they’re doing. Below are a few simple new business activities that can really help your agency grow.

A Few More Effective New Business Tips:

  1. Put your money where your mouth is! Budget a percent of your revenue on direct new business activities – outreach, webinars, nudging, speaking and more. If you’re not spending, you’re not being serious about new business, and you’re not going to get any results.
  2. Keep it simple! Your brand message should be simple, short, and to the point. Make sure your agency is easy to identify and easy to remember. Stand for something, have a point of view, and make sure the message is communicated. And always remember to highlight your value proposition to your prospects.
  3. Think like a journalist! Create marketing content as a journalist would create any news article. Remember the always important who, what, where, why and when to establish accuracy and build trust with a select client profile. If you have a specific type of client, or marketing problem, in mind when writing it helps you stand out as an expert.
  4. Grab the low-hanging fruit (many more ideas here)! Reach out to your past and present clients. You have a relationship with these people: they know you and they trust you. Ask for referrals, other firms that you may be able to help.  Make sure you’re very clear on the type of work you’re seeking – have a specific client issue that you can address.
  5. Keep the network strong! Get involved in local boards, business clubs and other community organizations. Please note, ad clubs and associations are great for helping you manage and learn more about marketing but are not great for new business. Join organizations where the clients are, not the competition. If you’re not sure what groups to join, ask your clients what meetings they attend.
  6. Travel off the beaten path! The advertising industry is filled with “me too” firms – most agencies say and do the same thing. Try some of the old, forgotten marketing tactics like direct mail or newspaper advertising. Or explore the cutting edge and see if you can create some awareness. Go where your competition won’t. This may take a bit of creativity, but if it brings in new business, it will be worth it.
  7. Track your leads! The number one measure of any new business effort is leads. Referrals, random calls, quiet visits, RFPs– track all of them. Year after year, the best measure of success is how many leads you are generating. Outstanding agencies will generate over 100 leads a year. Most agencies generate less than 10 per year. If you’re not sure how many leads you’re generating and where they’re coming from, you’re not really focused on new business.

New business is the art of acquiring qualified prospects and closing them. The best prospects are what we call Gold Leads, clients who are ready to switch agencies. Just never forget the impact of nudging warm and cold leads – staying in touch until they’re ready to switch. Use the above tips to help you generate qualified prospects.

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Ideas photo by shatter-the-silence